Aug 16, 2017

Dark Chocolate with Candied Violets and Hazelnuts

What kind of souvenirs do you get when visiting Vienna? My answer will definitely be food related. While most tourists buy Mozartkugel, kind of like pistachio marzipan combined with nougat and chocolate, I got kandierte veilchen instead. These purple pieces of candied violets just too beautiful to let go.

Even though the candied violets can be pleasing to the eye, consuming in bulk can numb the palate and turn the elegant flowery aroma into soapy taste. In order to make these violets into something I cannot keep my hands off, chocolate bar is the answer.

Dark chocolate with candied violets and hazelnuts -

Ingredients (makes about two bars)?

  • 2 or 200 grams dark chocolate bars, 70% to 80% preferred
  • 1/4 cup candied violets, or other candied flowers
  • Small handful or about 20 to 30 grams hazelnuts


It's actually very easy to make this decorated chocolate bar. If using whole nuts, put the nuts into a Ziploc bag and smash them into smaller pieces with something hard, such as a meat tenderizer hammer or even the end of the chopstick. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

Prepare a double boiler, break the chocolate into smaller pieces and start melting them. Stir the melted chocolate and wait till glistening and free of lumps. Pour the melted chocolate to the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle crushed nuts and candied violets throughout. Transfer uncovered baking dish to the fridge for at least 2 hours or till fully hardened.

Once ready, remove from fridge and take out the parchment paper. Transfer the chocolate onto a wooden board. Cut or break the chocolate into large pieces.  

Let your imagination run free, use other types of nuts or even freeze-dried fruits to make the chocolate bars. My Instagram friend saw my earlier update about this chocolate and would like to try some, so I'm going to make a fancier version next time. Perhaps using both the dark and white chocolate with freeze-dried berries? I'll share the recipe if it turns out irresistible later on!

Other chocolate-related recipes:

Aug 10, 2017

Tofu Veggies with Salted Black Beans

Chicken stock was used in this recipe. However, if you want to go to the vegetarian route, swap it out with vegetable stock, the end result is just as healthy and delicious.

Tofu veggies with salted black beans -


  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 big bamboo shoot
  • 10 to 12 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 box fried tofu (usually comes as square or triangle-shaped)
  • Big handful edamame
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce paste (蔭油膏)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salted black beans (豆鼓)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some chicken stock
  • Some corn starch/water mixture
  • Some sesame oil


If using fresh beans instead of already cooked edamame, blanch the beans first and set aside for later use. If edamame comes with pods attached, simply squeeze out the beans.

Peel and dice the garlic cloves. Trim off the chili stems and finely chop the remaining sections. Peel and slice the onion.

Peel and slice the carrot. Peel away the fibrous layer from the bamboo shoots and slice the softer section. Remove the shiitake stems and break the cap in half. 

As for the pre-fried tofu, this prep work is not necessary but recommended in order to draw out excess oil or any unwanted fried flavors. Bring a pot of water to a boil and quickly dip the tofu in boiling water. Drain and set aside

Drizzle enough olive oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan or a pot. Turn to medium high heat and add in the onion, salt, and pepper. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion slices turn translucent. Add in chopped garlic and cook till aromatic.

Transfer tougher veggies into the pan first, such as bamboo shoots and carrot, especially if soft carrot is preferred. Cook for about a minute.

Add in shiitake mushrooms and tofu. Mix a little then put in the soy sauce paste and salted black beans. Pour in some chicken or vegetable stock, just till it reaches about 1/3 heights of the ingredient. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer. Add in edamame or other types of green beans. Cook for another minute or two.

Have some corn starch and water mixture ready. Evenly pour into the pan while gently stirring the veggies at the same time to prevent lumps. This dish is about done when the veggies turn slightly gooey and sticking to one another. Drizzle some sesame oil for extra aroma right before serving. 

You can also add some finely chopped cilantro to brighten up the flavors. Unlike regular Asian stir-fry veggies made with flamy wok fire, the slightly gooey version always seems extra comforting. It makes a great bento side dish too.

Other recipes using salted black beans: